When Is the Right Time to Buy Your First Home? Use This Easy 4 Point Checklist

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 22nd, 2018

When Is the Right Time to Buy Your First Home? Use This Easy 4 Point ChecklistAre you growing tired of renting? Or perhaps you’ve recently graduated from college and are looking to set down some roots?

Whatever the case, buying your first home is an exciting prospect. Let’s take a look at a quick and easy four-point checklist that you can use to determine if you are ready to buy your first home.

#1: Is Your Credit In Good Shape?

How is your overall financial health? Once you have your down payment saved up, you should turn your attention to your credit rating.

If you are going to borrow a mortgage to help cover the cost of your home, your lender will be doing some digging into your credit history. It is best to ensure that you aren’t late with any payments and have cleared off any black marks from past credit problems.

#2: Can You See Yourself Living In This Community?

Do you love the area you live in? Or are you thinking about moving to a community that you like a bit more than your current one?

Perhaps it’s the local shops, the amenities, the walking trails or just being closer to work. It is always best to ‘love where you live,’ so ensure that you are buying your first home in a community that you can call home.

#3: Is Your Job Situation Stable?

Another factor to consider is your job or career situation. Are you likely to switch companies or be transferred to another division within the next few years? Be sure to give some thought to this as it will be inconvenient to have to move shortly after buying and furnishing a home.

#4: Are You Planning To Have Children?

Finally, have you considered what your family might look like in the future? Are you planning to get married, or if you are already married are you planning to have a family? If you have children now, do you expect to have any more of them?

Keep in mind that as your children grow older, they will need a bit more space. If you have a couple of young kids sharing bunk beds, each will need their own bedroom soon enough.

When you’re ready to buy your first home, our friendly real estate team is here to help you find the perfect home. Give our offices a call and we will be happy to meet with you to discuss your needs.

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Home Pricing 101: Understanding How to Set Your Home Selling Price and Why It’s a Big Decision

Posted in Home Seller Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 13th, 2018

Home Pricing 101: Understanding How to Set Your Home Selling Price and Why It's a Big DecisionAre you thinking about placing your home up for sale in the near future? If you dwell too much on the process itself, selling your home may seem a bit daunting. You have to deal with photos, listings, open houses, bids, counteroffers and much more. One of the decisions you will be faced with is setting the selling price for your home. In today’s blog post we will discuss pricing and how to set a price that will attract potential buyers.

You Are The Most Important Factor

It might seem a bit strange to think of it this way, but in many cases, the homeowner is the most important factor in finding the right price. For example, do you need a quick sale because you are moving for work? If you want a fast sale, you may need to list your home at a bargain price. Conversely, if you can afford to have your home on the market for a few months while you field offers you may price closer to market value.

Researching The Local Market

Next, you will want to research local market conditions to get a feel for the right pricing range. Are there other recent home sales in your neighborhood? On average, did they sell above or below the asking price? Are there many listings on the market now or is there just a few listings which may indicate intense buying pressure?

The market will play a significant role in choosing the right price. Don’t overlook it.

Don’t Get Greedy

The best possible real estate sale is ‘high and fast’, meaning your home sold quickly and for a high price. The reality is typically much different. You may get some buyers bidding, but all with low offers. Alternatively, you may only have one potential homebuyer come to your first open house. Whatever the case, keep in mind that you do not want to get greedy. Yes, it is great to sell high. However, you also want to close the sale so you can move on.

Too Much Trouble? Enlist Professional Help

If you feel that all of this is just a bit too much to bother with, don’t fret. Your best course of action is to enlist the help of a professional real estate agent who has extensive home selling experience. When you’re ready to sell your home, give us a call. We’re happy to share our insight into the local market and advise you on the best listing price to get your home sold quickly.

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Sellin’ Ain’t Easy: 4 Reasons Why You Will Want to Engage a Professional Real Estate Sales Agent

Posted in Home Seller Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 9th, 2018

Selling Ain't Easy: 4 Reasons Why You Will Want to Engage a Professional Real Estate Sales AgentAre you listing your home for sale this year? If so, you may be wondering just why you need the services of a real estate agent. Sure, it is theoretically possible to handle the entire process yourself and be successful. However, if you’re inexperienced, you may end up stumbling. Let’s explore four reasons why you will want to enlist the services of a professional real estate agent when you sell your home.

Do You Know How To Price Your Home?

Choosing the right listing price is a decision that requires research, intuition and a day-to-day understanding of how the local real estate market is moving. Unless you work in real estate, it is unlikely that you have your finger on the pulse of the market. Without a real estate agent’s help, you might end up pricing too high, which means that your sale takes much longer, or too low, which means you leave money on the table. Setting the right price is critical and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Have You Ever Marketed A Property Listing?

Do you have experience with marketing a property listing? If not, it is crucial that you work with an experienced real estate team. Today’s market requires website listings, social media advertising and other tactics to ensure success. It’s best to leave marketing to those who understand it.

Are You Good At Dealing With Strangers?

Do you consider yourself a ‘people person’? If not, you probably aren’t going to like the home selling process very much. Every open house means new people are walking through your home – potentially dozens of them. Your real estate agent is there to take care of dealing with strangers so you don’t have to.

Is Negotiating One Of Your Strengths?

Finally, don’t forget that real estate transactions almost always end up in some sort of negotiation. It is rare for a buyer to walk up and pay your listing price, although it does happen. However, it’s more common to receive a lower bid to try to draw you into submitting a counteroffer. In other cases, you may end up with multiple buyers fighting a bidding war to buy your home. In all of these situations, you will want an experienced negotiator on hand to help.

These are just a few of the many reasons that working with a professional real estate agent is in your best interests when you sell your home. To learn more about the sales process, or to list your home for sale, contact us today. Our team is dedicated to ensuring you have a fast, stress-free sale.

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When Is the Right Time to Buy Your First Home? Use This Easy 4 Point Checklist

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 8th, 2018

When Is the Right Time to Buy Your First Home? Use This Easy 4 Point ChecklistAre you growing tired of renting? Or perhaps you’ve recently graduated from college and are looking to set down some roots? Whatever the case, buying your first home is an exciting prospect. Let’s take a look at a quick and easy four-point checklist that you can use to determine if you are ready to buy your first home.

#1: Is Your Credit In Good Shape?

How is your overall financial health? Once you have your down payment saved up, you should turn your attention to your credit rating. If you are going to borrow a mortgage to help cover the cost of your home, your lender will be doing some digging into your credit history. It is best to ensure that you aren’t late with any payments and have cleared off any black marks from past credit problems.

#2: Can You See Yourself Living In This Community?

Do you love the area you live in? Or are you thinking about moving to a community that you like a bit more than your current one? Perhaps it’s the local shops, the amenities, the walking trails or just being closer to work. It is always best to ‘love where you live,’ so ensure that you are buying your first home in a community that you can call home.

#3: Is Your Job Situation Stable?

Another factor to consider is your job or career situation. Are you likely to switch companies or be transferred to another division within the next few years? Be sure to give some thought to this as it will be inconvenient to have to move shortly after buying and furnishing a home.

#4: Are You Planning To Have Children?

Finally, have you considered what your family might look like in the future? Are you planning to get married, or if you are already married are you planning to have a family? If you have children now, do you expect to have any more of them? Keep in mind that as your children grow older, they will need a bit more space. If you have a couple of young kids sharing bunk beds, each will need their own bedroom soon enough.

When you’re ready to buy your first home, our friendly real estate team is here to help. Give our offices a call and we will be happy to meet with you to discuss your needs and share a variety of beautiful homes that are available today.

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Recently Inherited a Home That You Don’t Need? Here’s How to Get It Sold Without Too Much Stress

Posted in Home Seller Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 6th, 2018

Recently Inherited a Home That You Don't Need? Here's How to Get It Sold Without Too Much StressHas a loved one or family member recently passed on and left you with their home? Inheriting a house can be a delightful gift, but it can also present a significant number of challenges that you must navigate. Let’s explore how to deal with an inherited house and, should you decide to, how to sell it without incurring too much stress.

Are Emotions Involved?

The death of a family member or other loved one can be a trying time emotionally. Depending on how the deceased left the property, you may also have to deal with cleaning out personal belongings and reviving old memories. A battle over a will or the proceeds of an estate can compound the situation, making things worse.

If you are emotionally involved, it is best to work with a real estate agent who can do much of the heavy lifting. That way you can focus on supporting your family and keeping your stress levels down.

Understand Your Legal Obligations

Although real estate inheritance is common, there are still some legal issues that must be considered. As such, you will need to understand what your legal obligations are regarding the will or estate process. Are you the executor of the will, or is someone else? Is the property included in a trust, or is it free-standing and gifted directly to you? Has the probate period passed, or can a family member or relative still challenge the will? If you haven’t already, it is best to speak with a real estate professional or experienced lawyer to get their advice.

Consider The Tax Implications

As with any financial windfall, there are going to be tax implications that need to be considered when selling an inherited home. For example, it’s unlikely that you will qualify for the home sales tax exclusion unless you have been living in that house as your primary residence. Once you sell the home, you will also need to report the proceeds of the sale to the IRS. There are also a variety of different taxes that need to be factored in, including estate taxes, inheritance taxes and more.

Consult An Experienced Real Estate Agent

Selling a home that you have inherited in a will or as part of an estate can be an emotionally draining process. Before you make any moves, it is best to speak with a real estate professional. Contact our offices at your convenience and we will be happy to meet with you and share our guidance.

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Curious About Homeowners’ Association (HOA) Fees? Here’s What You Need to Know

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 25th, 2018

Curious About Homeowners' Association (HOA) Fees? Here's What You Need to KnowIf you are thinking of buying a condominium or a home that is part of a planned community, you have likely come across the term “homeowners’ association” or HOA. In short, the HOA is a coalition of local homeowners who have banded together to manage the needs of the local community. Let’s explore the concept of the homeowners’ association, why they charge fees and what you can expect from your HOA if you buy a home that is part of one.

HOA Fees Are Meant To Make Things Easier

HOA fees are meant to make your life easier. Common sense dictates that all homeowners won’t be able to commit to investing some of their time in community upkeep. So the HOA charges a monthly fee to everyone to cover the costs of keeping everything in order. Of course, some HOAs can make mistakes or foolish investments that don’t benefit all equally. But most are well-intended and do positive work.

What Do HOA Fees Cover?

Your HOA fees will be used to pay for needs that benefit all homeowners’ in the community. If you live in a building, this will be everything from elevator maintenance to keeping the doors in good order. If you live in a townhouse complex or planned community, this includes landscaping, gardening, road maintenance and more. As long as your HOA leaders are doing their job, they will use fees to maintain and improve the community for everyone.

Some Pros And Cons Of HOA Fees

The main benefit of paying HOA fees is that you are offloading your share of the responsibility for building or community upkeep. In essence, you are trading a monthly payment so that you don’t have to vacuum the common areas, change the light bulbs or worry about repairing the gate when it breaks. The main downside to paying HOA fees is that you only have a single vote as to how they are spent and you may disagree with other homeowners about the HOA’s priorities.

All things considered, whether or not you have a favorable view of your HOA generally comes down to you. If you are the type that likes to share their opinion and is willing to commit the time to improve your local community, you may want to join your HOA. However, if you are less interested in having someone spend your money, you might disagree with their approach. Whatever the case, when you are ready to buy or sell your next home, contact our professional real estate team. We’re happy to help you find the right home – HOA or not.

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Selling Your Home to Millennials? 3 Tips That Will Help You Get the Sale Closed

Posted in Home Seller Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 23rd, 2018

Selling Your Home to Millennials? 3 Tips That Will Help You Get the Sale ClosedAre you thinking of selling your home this year? If so, you are almost certainly going to interact with millennial homebuyers. This generation numbers around 80 million and are the fastest-growing consumer demographic in the country. As their earning power continues to increase, millennials are now turning their attention to real estate. In today’s post, we’ll share three tips that you can use to help make your listing more attractive to younger millennial homebuyers.

Minimalize As Much As Possible

Is your home full of trinkets and other clutter? If so, it might be best to box all of that up and store it during the home selling process. This generation tends to lean more towards a minimalist lifestyle and a ‘quality over quantity’ mentality. They are also highly social, which means that open space for mingling is more important than having large, clunky pieces of furniture all over the place. If you have large living areas, try to stage them with more of an open concept in mind.

Embrace Technology And Make Upgrades

As you might imagine, millennials are very tech-savvy and gravitate towards homes that already have their technology interests in mind. Of course, you do not need to run out and invest in a massive solar panel setup for your roof – although solar is certainly popular. Smaller, more thoughtful investments like strong WiFi signals, Internet-connected thermostats and video-based home security options are all useful tech upgrades.

Highlight The Local Community And Amenities

Finally, you will want to highlight your local community as much as possible. Everything from the local elementary and middle schools to walking trails to community centers and shopping is important to the millennial crowd. Many of this generation prefer walking and cycling over driving and aren’t interested in long, horrific commutes to work each morning. If you have a nice coffee shop or bakery that you like to frequent, try to have some of their products on hand at your open house as well.

Following the selection of tips above is sure to make your home more attractive to millennial homebuyers. To learn more about how to sell to younger buyers, or to list your home for sale, contact us today. Our professional real estate team is happy to meet with you and share how we can get your home sold quickly.

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On Time, Every Time: How Being Late on Monthly Payments Can Affect Your Mortgage

Posted in Home Mortgage Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 18th, 2018

On Time, Every Time: How Being Late on Monthly Payments Can Affect Your MortgageAre you the type of person that struggles with remembering to pay their bills on time? You’re not alone. People across the country regularly submit late monthly payments, inflicting terrible damage to their credit. Let’s take a quick look at how paying your loan or other monthly payments late can have a negative impact on your mortgage.

Your Credit Score Is At Risk

As you already know, almost all banks, credit cards, mortgage companies and other lenders rely on your credit score to help assess the risk of lending money to you. Paying any of your payments late – even something as small as your mobile phone bill or a department store credit card – can result in negative marks showing up on your credit report. If you are late enough times or fail to repay the late payment in full, then your score will start to drop.

Refinancing Can Be Affected

If you already have a mortgage, then a lower credit score can be a problem when you try to refinance. The process of refinancing involves taking out a new mortgage, in which your lender will reassess your risk using your credit score as one of the indicators. If you have been making late payments, you might end up having to settle for a higher interest rate or you may even be declined for the new mortgage.

Making A Late Payment? Contact Your Lender

If you are caught in a bind and have to make a late payment, it is best to call your lender as soon as possible. First, there may be a grace period in which you can be a few days late without any penalty. If that little bit of breathing room is all you need to get caught up, you’re set. If not, you can let them know your circumstances and discuss what options you have.

It is essential to pay your monthly payments on time, even if it means making some small sacrifices in other areas. The better your credit score looks, the more opportunities you will have to make positive financial moves in the future. Ready to start looking for your next home? Contact your local real estate professionals today.

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Buying a New Home in a Hot Real Estate Market? Here Are 4 Tips You Will Need to Be Successful

Posted in Home Mortgage Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 17th, 2018

Buying a New Home in a Hot Real Estate Market? Here Are 4 Tips You Will Need to Be SuccessfulAre you in the market for a new house? In a buyer’s market, finding and closing on a beautiful home can seem very easy. However, if you are shopping when the market is hot, you may end up fighting bidding wars and losing your dream home to a competing buyer. Let’s take a look at four tips that you will need to be successful when house hunting in a hot local real estate market.

Tip #1: Do Your Research Ahead Of Time

It should go without saying that in a hot market you will need to move quickly. Making an effort to do all your research ahead of time will ensure that you do not have to later, once you’ve found the perfect dream home. Check in with your real estate agent to find out what paperwork and other material will be needed.

Tip #2: Get A Mortgage Pre-approval

Once you have found your dream home, you may discover that other buyers are interested or have submitted bids. In this case, it is crucial that you can demonstrate that you have your mortgage financing pre-approved. Remember that the seller wants to close their sale quickly and for the best price. Showing up with pre-approved mortgage financing proves that you are serious about buying their home.

Tip #3: Be Ready To Pounce (But Don’t Be Hasty!)

Speaking of being serious, it is essential that you are ready to pounce on the right listing. A hot market means that you won’t be the only potential buyer checking out a home. The last thing you want to do is find the right house, then end up losing the chance to buy it because of unnecessary delays.

Tip #4: Small Sacrifices Are Okay

The final tip to keep in mind is that sometimes you will have to make a small sacrifice to close the deal. For example, the seller may want some special terms added to the agreement. Alternatively, they might ask you to pick up some of the closing costs. Whatever the case, keep in mind that a hot market means that you lose a bit of leverage. If it’s a small sacrifice, it might be worth it.

Buying a house in a hot real estate market can be challenging, but a little preparation will go a long way in ensuring you are the winning bidder. When you are ready to buy your next home, get in touch with your local real estate professionals.

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Looking to Buy a Home in 2018 and Don’t Know Where to Start? Here’s a Few Tips

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 12th, 2018

Looking to Buy a Home in 2018 and Don't Know Where to Start? Here's a Few TipsAre you a renter that has become tired of paying someone else’s mortgage and not building any equity? Or a homeowner who has a growing family and is in need of more space? Whatever the case, if you are in the market for a new home there is no time like the present. Let’s explore a few tips that will help you to prepare for the home buying experience.

Tip #1: Prepare For A Busy Spring Season

First, it should be pretty obvious that you aren’t the only house hunter on the market. Other local individuals and families alike will be searching for a new house to call their own. As you may know, the spring is generally when the local real estate market starts to heat up. So, if you are looking to buy, you may want to address your needs earlier in the spring rather than later. The sooner you can get the paperwork signed, the less of a chance you end up in a bidding war.

Tip #2: Mortgage Rates May Be Trending Up

While this is in no way a prediction, there have been some indications that mortgage interest rates may be trending higher in 2018. If this does end up being the case, the cost of buying a home is going to be a little bit more. So if you can move quickly and get your mortgage pre-approved now, you may find that you end up with a better deal than those families who wait until the summer to make a move.

Tip #3: Prepare Your Finances And Credit In Advance

Finally, it’s a great best practice to ensure that your personal finances are prepared in advance. Your real estate agent will be able to assist you with which documentation you will need to have ready. You should also check in with one of the major credit reporting agencies. They will be able to advise you as to whether you have any issues with your credit rating or FICO score.

Buying a home is always an exciting experience – one which can be relatively stress-free if you are prepared. When you are ready to discuss buying your dream home or to view available listings in the local area, give our offices a call. We are here to help you find the perfect house, condo or apartment to suit your needs.

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